Shirley Baker photograph of punks in camden

Youth culture: new photo gallery

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We are always delighted to receive emails from our web visitors with suggestions of what you would like to see on this website. One thing that we are constantly asked for is – more photographs! So with this in mind, we have delved through the archives to bring you more of Shirley Baker’s work. As Shirley’s work evolved and broadened, so too did her subject matter. As Shirley became increasingly interested in the various tribes of youth culture, we are proud to bring you a portfolio of work that reflects that. The Youth Culture gallery focuses on young people, from their vibrancy and swagger to its identifiable uniforms, from 50s youth clubs to the punks of Camden.

Shirley’s early work photographing the streets of Manchester and Salford reached a natural tailing off as those communities were gradually moved into their sparkling new homes in high-rise council blocks – which quickly fell into disrepair. But that’s another story…

However Shirley’s love of life on the streets remained – she was never drawn to photographing indoors and there are very few images that were taken inside buildings. But whereas she had once roamed the streets of northern home towns, in the 1970s she began to expand her search for captivating images. She was increasingly drawn to London, where she found plenty to excite her eye, especially in Camden when the bohemian area became a magnet for youth to gather. Whereas once her camera caught the poor and dispossessed living in bombed-out homes, young people in the 70s and 80s were reclaiming the streets for their own. She was attracted to the vibrancy of youth and the shifting styles and tribes that formed, from teddy boys in the 50s to punks.